Student Resources

Preparing Your Abstract or Project Description

All presenters are required to submit an abstract or project description at the time of registering for CURE. Abstracts and project descriptions will be included in the program guide, which will be posted on the CURE website and become part of the CURE Proceedings in Huskie Commons.

What is an abstract?

Abstracts are a one-paragraph summary of your research project that provides readers with the essential points, a clear overview of your research, and your research findings. For CURE, it is important to create an abstract that can be understood by a general audience.

Abstracts from the sciences and humanities include the following:

  • Context: summarize the background of your research question or focus and its larger significance.
  • Research question or problem: tate the research problem or question you are researching.
  • Methods: describe how you completed your research or approached the problem.
  • Key findings: share key findings or preliminary results, if you are still working on your research.
  • Implications: tthe next steps, or stages of your research.

Creative projects from visual arts and performing arts typically include the following:

  • Purpose: summarize the background of your research question or creative inquiry focus and its larger significance.
  • Influence or inspiration: explain who or what influenced your work or your inspiration for the work.
  • Creative methods or techniques: describe how you completed your research.
  • Your contributions: explain how your research contributes to a broader scale of things.
  • Reflective statement: share how the project impacted you and supported your learning.

Check out this video on how to write an abstract for your CURE poster.

What is a project description?

Like an abstract, a project description is a one-paragraph, brief and clear summary designed to communicate the relevance of the project, how the project was carried out, and the impact it had on the community or organization. Students presenting a community engagement showcase will provide a project description when registering for CURE.

Project descriptions for Community Engagement Showcases typically include the following:

  • Project relevance: explain the relevance or significance of your project.
  • Methods: briefly tell viewers how you completed your project.
  • Outcomes: Explain the results of the project or experience.
  • Reflective analysis or statement: reflections on how the project supported your own learning and contributed to the knowledge base of the community.

Abstract and Project Description Tips

  • Remember the 4 C’s: complete (key elements of the project/research), clear (readable by a broad audience), concise (100-150 words) and cohesive (smooth flowing).
  • Avoid jargon (discipline-specific or technical language that might notbe understood by a wide audience).
  • Avoid first-person usage (“I”, “me”, “myself” and “myself”)
  • Ask your faculty member for feedback before submitting it

Poster Templates

Academic Research Templates

Used for traditional academic poster sessions. Please note headings are editable to meet your field-specific standards.

Poster template A
conference-template-a.jpg
Poster template B
Poster template C
Poster template D
Poster template E

Community Engagement Showcase Templates

Poster template F - Use this template for community-based learning projects and service-learning projects that include addressing a community need using data analysis.
Poster template G - Use this template for experiences in in-service learning courses, programs, internships or study abroad programs

Poster Development and Printing Guide

Choose a Poster Template

  • Choose one of our available CURE poster templates to create your poster.
  • Read the guidance under each section.

Poster Template Elements

  • Headers are included on templates. The text in the headers can be changed to suit your project and meet field-specific standards, if needed. Consult with your faculty mentor to determine if any of the headers should be changed.

Poster Tips

Font

  • Choose legible fonts (e.g., Times New Roman, Arial, Garamond).
  • Use bold or italics to emphasize a point. Underlined words can be more difficult to read.

Color

  • Contrast is important. Use dark font colors on light backgrounds and light font colors on dark backgrounds (easiest to read).

Communicating Your Message

  • Your poster tells a story and conveys your takeaway message.
  • Use of bullets and short phrases helps keep your content concise and easy to follow.
  • Use graphics (i.e., figures, photos, graphs, charts) to convey most information.
  • Avoid using images directly from the web. The quality may be poor and may not print clearly.
  • Ethically use copyrighted materials or find openly licensed content. Contact your subject specialist
    librarian if you have questions or need help finding free-to-use images.

Save Your Poster

  • Save as a PDF by selecting "export" from the PowerPoint drop-down menu.
  • Save the file using your last name and keywords from the poster title (e.g., Reilly_Peer Modeling).
  • Click on properties or page set up to view poster size and make sure it was not changed during the converting process between PowerPoint to PDF.

Submit Your Poster

  • Ask your faculty-mentor to review your poster prior to submission.
  • Submit your poster by April 19 through the registration platform.

Poster Printing

  • Posters submitted by the deadline will be printed for you and displayed in your assigned area on the day of CURE.
  • Printing will be your responsibility if your poster is not received by the deadline.

Questions? 

Email ugresearch@niu.edu

CURE Workshop Series

If you are looking to learn more about the Conference on Undergraduate Research and Engagement, designing an academic poster and communicating research are welcome to join us for the following CURE workshop sessions. All sessions will be held in the Lincoln Room on the second floor of the Holmes Student Center.

Additional Resources

Contact Us

Office of Student Engagement and Experiential Learning
Holmes Student Center 264-266
engage@niu.edu
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